The Geography of British Columbia

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
GEOG 1160
The Geography of British Columbia
Geography and the Environment
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 4 hrs/week/semester
Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following: lecture, labs, field work, DVDs/videos and animations, individual and/or team projects, small group discussions and map and air photo analysis.

Course Description
British Columbia is one of the most diverse and richly endowed provinces in Canada, but how much do you know about this province? Do you know that B.C.’s physical and human resources have always been part of a “Pacific Rim” region? Why are coastal B.C. winters so mild and wet while the interior is cold and dry? Why has the southwest corner of the province developed so differently than the rest of B.C.? Learn more about the province in Geography 1160, an introduction to the regional geography of British Columbia. This course will include a general study of the physical environment and historical/settlement patterns. We will also examine issues such as economic development, resource conservation, urbanization, social and demographic transformations, and life in remote rural areas. B.C.’s present and future role in Canada’s development will also be considered.
Course Content
  1. Introduction
    • Definition of area
    • Regional concepts as applied to British Columbia
    • Core/periphery model
  2. Physical Setting
    • Tectonic processes
    • Geomorphology and physiographic regions
    • Climate
    • Biogeography
  3. Historical Background
    • Prehistory
    • Exploration and resettlement
    • First Nations experiences
  4. Economic Setting
    • Infrastructure
    • Transportation network
    • Resource development
    • Forestry
    • Fishing
    • Mining
    • Agriculture
    • Energy
    • Water
    • Government intervention
    • Resource management and conservation
    • Manufacturing
    • Tourism and Recreation
    • Tertiary and quaternary industries
    • Land use conflicts and treaty negotiations
  5. Urban and Social Issues
    • Urban development
    • Rural settlement
    • Demographic studies
    • Cultural diversity/ethnicity
    • Environmental challenges
  6. British Columbia and Canada
  7. Future Issues
Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Synthesize the concepts and techniques of regional geography.
  2. Communicate effectively orally, graphically, in writing, and using quantitative methods.
  3. Create, interpret, analyze and utilize maps.
  4. Evaluate and make informed decisions about contemporary British Columbia issues using the methodologies, concepts and techniques of regional geography.
Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific criteria during the first week of classes.


An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

Assignments  40%
Class preparation and participation      10%
Mid-term exam  25%
Final exam  25%
Total 100%



Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:


Texts will be updated periodically. Typical examples are:

McGillivray, B. (2010). Geography of British Columbia: People and Landscapes in Transition. Vancouver: UBC Press.